MARION, Ind. - For the second time this season, the 21st-ranked Marian University and 16th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan women's tennis teams battled until the ninth and final match was decided in the 2013 Crossroads League Tournament championship match at Sutter Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights could not get that elusive fifth win to secure the title as IWU earned the championship with a 5-4 win. MU ended the fall season with a 10-3 overall record, while IWU remained unbeaten at 16-0.
"I am very proud of the heart and toughness our ladiers showed today," said head coach Cassie Mackell
. "From top to bottom, our ladies fought to the very end and showed a lot of class. I am one proud coach."
The match opened with the doubles competition and IWU was able to secure two of the three matches for a 2-1 lead. Junior Sarah Potter
and freshman Anna Potter
earned an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles for MU's lone point heading into the singles competition.
Junior Hannah Knust
was the first off in singles play after she fell 1-6, 0-6 at No. 2 singles to give IWU a 3-1 lead. Senior Olivia Pursell
also fell at No. 5 singles, 1-6, 4-6, to put IWU one match from a decisive win at 4-1.
However, the Knights clawed back. Sarah Potter
won at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-0, before Anna Potter
earned a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 6 singles to make it 4-3. senior Brittney Horlacher
earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles to tie the match at 4-4 and bring it down to the match at No. 4 singles.
Senior Lauren Paras
had a lead in the opening set only to see her opponent take the set 7-6 (7-5) in a first-set tiebreaker. Paras clawed back into the match with a 6-3 win in the second set to send the match to an absolutely decisive third set that will decide the championship. The two players went back-and-forth trading breaks before the IWU player earned the 7-5 win to clinch the title.
The Knights and Wildcats have battled each of the last two seasons for both the regular season and tournament championships. It was the second straight match in which the Knights took IWU to a 5-4 score.
After a couple of months off, the Knights will open the spring season on March 9 when they head to Florida for their annual spring trip. MU will look to make some noise against some quality opponents in order to have a shot at an at-large bid to the national championship tournament in Mobile, Ala., on May 13-17.